Glo – Successful and Authentic from Africa

African telecommunications operator, Glo, was titled one of the five best brands in Africa. Credits: http://www.techcabal.com/and-the-price-of-bis-comes-crashing-down-courtesy-globacom/

Recently, Globacom (or Glo) was given the title of one of the five best brands in Africa. Glo delivers telecommunication services to its consumers across several countries in Africa including Nigeria, Ghana and Benin Republic. However, the scales of its operations was not the reason it was given this title. Its true value came from its social contributions on top of the profit it generated after 10 years of service.

Glo was a company that did not only focus on delivering services. It actively engaged in developing the communities around it. For example, sponsoring awards to African footballers, promoting heroic behavior in different fields, investing in music reality TV broadcasts and enriching the lives of Africans through a variety  of telecasts on TV.

Furthermore, Glo contributed heavily to building telecom infrastructure, linking cables with the rest of the world in order for Africans to be informed of the happenings in the entire globe. Consumers admire that Glo is taking the world stage, representing Africa’s authenticity and unique culture.

In my opinion, Globacom is a perfect example of a both successful and socially responsible organization.  It has set up a strategy to profit while helping the entire African society grow. It’s sponsorships and its investments not only allow consumers to access information more quickly and easily, the telecommunications company can also profit from consumers using the services they have constructed. This mutual relationship it has established makes it higher profitable, sustainable and well recognized. This company positively influences society and spreads the unique African collectivism and unity.

Credits: “Glo Emerges One of Africa’s 5 Biggest Brands | Business News | Peacefmonline.com.” RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.

Way to Go Sauder Grad!

Credits: http://www.victoriaexplorer.com/events/dragons-den-auditions-in-victoria-feb-2-2013/

Dustin Sproat,  a recent graduate from the Robert H. Lee Graduate School of the Sauder School of Business, is now on his way to become a real entrepreneur after his presentation made in the popular show, Dragon’s Den, that scored him $250,000 and a powerful business partner that previously shaped Boston Pizza, Jim Treliving,

Sproat and his team developed an app named Shnarped which allows downloaded users to understand more about hockey players, game information, statistics and even allows the users to send a message or response to the games. The name and idea originated from a card game that was often played by hockey players while traveling between games.

Shnarped on Dragon’s Den Credits: http://www.theprovince.com/technology/grad+hockey+wows+Dragons/9109251/story.html

Dustin Sproat and his team was very surprised when all five dragons were willing to pitch in for his business offer, which was 10% of the company in exchange for $100,000 of investment. Evidently, these business sharks see a lot of potential in Sproat’s business and is hoping to profit from a being a part of this.

This action undertaken by Sproat and his team is a direct correlation to the fundamental basis of entrepreneurship, which is to courageously find ways for the business to sprout alive, in this case, even when it means being questioned or humiliated by a group of business experts in front of the entire world watching on television.

Sproat and his team was confident in their app, they knew this app is missing from the daily lives of Canadians, but most importantly, despite being tremendously nervous to face the dragons, they overcame the anxiety and cowardice which are the main barriers blocking passionate entrepreneurs today.

Credits: “The Province.” www.theprovince.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.

Watch Where You Sit

Credits: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-09/11/content_6096611.htm

This post is a comment on Francis Ching’s blog post: “The Chair Exploded…”

The original post can be found on http://blogs.ubc.ca/francisching/

In COMM101, a frequent topic discussed was business ethics. Successful businesses are often those who profit while contributing social benefit to society, for example, Lululemon which offers free yoga classes. If a business produces products that consumer cannot even trust or the quality of these products can cause harm to its consumers, it is a surprise if the business can even sustain.

I nearly jumped out of my chair when I read through Francis Ching’s post on the chair that exploded in China and nearly killed a young girl the age of 24. How can anyone possibly imagine that one minute you are sitting comfortably drying your hair while the next, you are sent to hospital, blood all over the place and several doctors trying to remove steel pieces from your body in order to rescue your life!

Having no bias against products produced in China, as it is understandable that competition is especially high as firms face a range competitors and indeed many of the items we use daily are produced in China due to its relatively cheaper labor costs, it is still a major ethical issue present in today’s Chinese businesses when they face a tradeoff between quality and quantity as well as between safety and profitability.

To this point I must agree with Francis that the government should at least outline higher safety standards and more strict supervision on business operations. Otherwise, competition will only drive more businesses to head the wrong route and as consumers, then they really need to watch where they sit, especially when this is not the first time it has happened.

Don’t They Want Their Money Back?

Video: China mocks U.S. as default looms

Can also be found: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXpZBn4O1LI

They won’t answer no matter how hard you knock!
Credits: http://www.davegranlund.com/cartoons/2011/07/15/china-and-us-debt/

From the video watched in class, the western civilized countries of Europe, the United States and even Canada are facing an enormous national debt. Governments face increasing annual deficits that cannot be obtained from the amount of tax revenue it collects. Year by year, the budget deficit accumulates and thus in order for government and businesses to function, the governments rely on borrowing money from other countries to cover their expenses through the distribution of government bonds. Visibly in Europe, countries borrow and lend wealth from each other, though conscious that they are unlikely to expect returns. When the stability finally collapsed, all the countries were immediately sucked into this tornado.

In the case of the United States, they have a national debt of more than $17 trillion dollars owed to multiple countries, notably China and Japan amongst many other lesser contributors. Therefore, the United States can be analyzed as being owned by China and Japan, which if China decides to exchange the bonds it had purchased for immediate wealth, the United States would bankrupt. Yet what is preventing China to collect its debt and why is China still buying bonds?

The reality is that China relies on America to purchase the goods China made. If the United States bankrupts, its citizens would no longer have money to purchase Chinese goods. In turn, billions of Chinese employees would suffer unemployment and threaten political and economical stability in China. Unfortunately, the Chinese can only keep buying U.S bonds to ensure their citizens are still working and their own economy is still growing.

A Lasting Phone Would Destroy A Lasting Company

This post is a comment of Logan Lan’s blog post: Good things aren’t made to last. His original post can be located on http://blogs.ubc.ca/loganlan/.

In the past few years, Apple’s Iphone series greatly contributed to its success. It’s popularity and its market position as mentioned by Logan, seemed appealing to twenty-first century consumers. Being an apple fan myself, I simply enjoyed navigating the Apple’s  iOS operating system compared to the Android system used across almost every other brand that produced smartphones. In past years, Apple have released a new Iphone available to consumers every year, which many of Apple’s loyal consumers abandoned their current Iphone for a newer version simply to keep themselves on trend, especially when technology is evolving at such a rapid pace.  Their previous Iphone did not break, nor malfunction, but a new Iphone’s release pressured them to purchase the updated phone despite only minimal changes have been made, such as that 0.1µ additional pixel mentioned by Logan to that same camera on the same top left corner on the back of every Iphone made.

I agree with Logan once we take on Apple’s marketing prospective. Apple relied on its loyal consumers to throw away their old phones and constantly purchase Apple’s new phones, thus their phones were not designed to last. Had they produced a lasting phone that outran its competitors even if they had the technology to do so, profit figures would tell them otherwise. Undoubtedly, Apple’s current strategy is keeping it in profitable condition years into the future and its loyal consumers can look forward to trashing more phones until they stop getting enticed by the bait on the hook.

New Iphone releases after a series in past years. Credits: http://gizlogy.com/apple-iphone-generations-time-line/

Unappealing Canadian Costs

The local Canadian online retail business, Betty Be Good, now aims to locate to Blaine, U.S instead of opening a boutique within Canadian borders. Credits: http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2013/09/betty-be-good-boutique-expands-to-store-in-u-s/

It really is not a surprise when a Canadian entrepreneur, Suzanne Smith, who owns the e-commerce Betty Be Good which sells retail clothing online, is now deciding to have a boutique shop in Blaine, Washington in the United States instead of Vancouver, Canada, where she is currently residing.

As an entrepreneur starting out a business, he or she must think of costs and try to minimize it for greater profit. Unfortunately, Canada just happens to be less attractive to business owners when they must consider the cost of rent, generally 2.5 times more than the rent of our neighbor state of Washington, U.S. By selling her products in the U.S, the savings would allow her to reduce prices and thus permit higher sales volumes.

Smith is amongst many other entrepreneurs who are seeking to profit from the enormous amount of Canadians who travel down the border to purchase cheap groceries and gas. Her parents closed down multiple Subway restaurants in Surrey to the U.S and is now experiencing incredible returns.

This is simply a trend that is affecting Canadians today. Canadians enjoy the cheaper goods available in the U.S market, while this action can be  threatening to our local businesses while they cope with the high costs of operating in Canadian soil. As Canadian citizens, we hope that our economy can prosper and grow, but if businesses cannot survive in this profit discouraging environment, the result is likely higher Canadian unemployment in the near future.

Credits: “Vancitybuzz.” Vancity Buzz Vancouver Events News Food Lifestyle and More. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

Long lineups at the Peach Arch border. Credits:   “Dec. 27: Traffic Light, except at the Borders | The Province.” The Province Dec 27 Traffic Light except at Theborders Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

 

Lufthansa Respond to Competition

European flights can become profitable for Lufthansa with its low cost subsidiary, Germanwings. Credits:”THE VIEW FROM FEZ.” : German Wings Over Morocco. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2013.

In today’s globalized society, more and more people frequently travel between different cities and countries around the world for business and leisure purposes. Technology advance everyday to ensure the safety and security of passengers in which fatal accidents involving air travel are steadily decreasing. When consumers make a choice of which airline to pick for their travel plans, the majority would compare and select a lower cost airline considering if the comfort they receive do not greatly differ. This may apply less on an international long-haul flight where travelers are more likely to seek comfort over price, but the statement holds true for short-haul international and domestic flights where price thus becomes a more determinant factor.

As this trend started to grow, more and more low-cost and charted airlines are becoming more appealing to consumers. Airlines including Air Berlin and Ryanair are both very profitable low cost airlines emerging in the European air transport market. As these airlines flourish, less travelers are selecting Lufthansa, Europe’s second largest airline, which previously contained expensive business class seats for domestic travel which are no longer preferred by consumers.

July of this year, Lufthansa noticed that due to competition, their domestic flights and flights to rest of Europe must switch to a lower cost airline in order to boost profits. Germanwings, a subsidiary flight carrier owned by Lufthansa since 2009, now operate a majority of domestic and European flights under Lufthansa only except flights from the Frankfurt and Munich hubs and is likely to shrink their losses and aim to break-even by 2015, where profit to Lufthansa would thus increase to 2.3 billion Euros. Demand for Germanwings are expected to improve along with its occupancy of flights.

This move by Lufthansa is a direct response to its competitions incurred. The company had implemented the “Score Program” to change their cost and operating structures which they must reach their target to become a more profitable airline. Furthermore, Lufthansa proposed to scrap business class seats off of flights to Bangkok, Canada, India and Africa to increase seats and fly more condense planes, while on the other hand, invest in younger and significantly more comfortable larger flights such as the A380 super jumbos to Miami and Shanghai.

The success from these moves by Lufthansa is through customization to consumers. Flights to different parts of the world carry passengers which differ in values. Consumers prioritize price and comfort differently depending on their destination, their purpose of travel and the length of the flight. Evidently, Lufthansa generated enough statistical data to conclude that domestic and international flights in Europe would be better operated with a low cost airline such as its subsidiary, Germanwings.

Credits:

“Lufthansa to Fly into Profitable Zone with European Business.” DW.DE. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2013.
Weiss, Richard. “Lufthansa Sees Low-Cost Success as Cabin Upgrade Costs Rise.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 04 Oct. 2013. Web. 06 Oct. 2013.

 

Radioactive Fast Food

Yoshinoya Holdings to use produce from Fukushima lead to consumer fears.
Credits: http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/yen-for-living/tag/yoshinoya/

In March 2011, a major undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 forced a tsunami upon East Japan and the news had spread around the globe. Soon after, the disaster sparked yet another problem for Japanese citizens as the tsunami which stroke the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants resulted in heavy leakages of radioactive material after a severe meltdown and failures to equipment. The intensity of the nuclear disaster was rated a 7 on the International Scale and citizens living in a proximity of 30km to the power plants are evacuated from their homes.

Only two and a half years after the disturbing accident, Yoshinoya Holdings, which owns a popular chain of stores selling stewed beef rice named gyudons announced that they would use rice and vegetables grown only 60 miles from the power plants in support of farmers and the reconstruction of Fukushima.

The decision by Yoshinoya to change its key resources and partners was considerably not a beneficial move for the company. The Japanese government ensures the public that food are strictly monitored and are safe to consume, however, consumers are simply not buying this.  Yoshinoya is taking a huge risk in this decision that may result in a shift in consumer attitudes for their products. Fukushima’s fertile soil had been used to grow crops and produce before the disaster and Yoshnoya was hoping to revive this land through this action. Consumers however, are no less afraid than they had before and Fukushima’s produce had experienced incredible decreases in price due to decreased demands.

If Yoshinoya succeeds in maintaining or slightly lowering their sales but at the same time, lower their costs from switching to Fukushima produce, the company may earn higher profits. Yet if consumers stop demanding gyudons which has a possibility of containing radioactive substances harmful to their health in the long term, Yoshinoya would thus likely to suffer incredible losses.

Perhaps Yoshinoya is overconfident to Fukushima when only one day after its announcement, the Fukushima Power Plants suffered another leak of radioactive spills, causing water to contain over 6700 times the legal limit of radioactive material.

July of this year, a bass caught in Japan contained 10 times more cesium than the restricted ceiling.

Is Fukushima prepared to supply food to the alerted Japanese citizens or is Yoshinoya heading for a disaster to implement this plan?

Credits: – “Popular Fast-food Chain to Grow Food 60 Miles from Fukushima Plant.” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2013.

-“Water 6,700 times More Radioactive than Legal Limit Spills from Fukushima.” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2013.

-“Cancer Risk Linked to Radiation Levels in Fish Species after Fukushima.” Straight.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2013.

 

 

Allowance for Insurance

Above: Companies no longer use a group health plan in order to cut costs. Credits: http://www.democracyforvancouver.org/healthcare/life-preexisting-condition/

When Walgreens, the largest drug retail chain in the United States with nearly 8300 stores across the nation, decided that it was time to shift the health plan for its 160,000 employees, it foreshadows a revolutionary change in one of the most destructive expenses of a company.

Walgreens proposed that instead of having an insurance plan for all of its eligible employees, the company would subsidize their applicable workers to an insurance plan in the private health insurance market. This decision had been recognized by multiple other companies including Sears, which proposed to shift the previous year and IBM as well as Time Warner who desires to first move the retirees to the private market.

The effects of this decision to the employer, in this case Walgreens, is obvious. With rocketing prices on insurance, companies no longer need to be handcuffed by insurance companies. Giving the employees a subsidy for them to choose their own health insurance is simply to shift the inflation burden to their workers, thus giving employers greater control over their expenses which would become fixed instead of rising abruptly.

In the short term, employees may see a benefit from this shift. A healthy worker may not require certain benefits which were offered to them in the previous group plan and would now have more liberty to choose a less expensive plan and obtain the subsidy from their employers. However, for most employees in the long term, rising insurance prices would result in heavier personal expenditures to healthcare if their employers do not increase the subsidy they give out.

The decision would revolutionize the health benefits of employees as more companies switch to private health insurance markets for their employees, yet the workers are the ones who would likely look upon to higher expenses in the near future.

Credits:

KIM, SUSANNA Susanna Kim More from Susanna » Business Digital Reporter Follow @skimm. “Walgreens Moves Employees to Private Health Exchange.” ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. 01 Oct. 2013.

MORRISEY, ED “Video: Walgreens to Dump Employee Coverage for 160,000.” HotAir.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Oct. 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medication Kills! – A Business Ethics Nightmare

Some businesses in pursuit of profit, may conduct itself in illegal and harmful behaviours that can cause damages to society and demonstrate lack of business ethics. I have came across an article earlier that resembles a perfect example of severe lack of business ethics that is destructing the health and well-beings of the general public in Europe without consumers recognizing the potential damages which are often life-threatening.

This article revealed that in Europe, counterfeit medications are plundering the wealth of consumers when nearly half of the medications which consumers

Above: Pills and medications; businesses lack ethic to produce illegal and dangerous medications to the public. Credits: http://www.rossion.com/medical.html Rossion Inc 2012.

purchase online are produced “on the streets”! These counterfeit medications often contains very little to no pharmaceutical ingredients and would only intoxicate patients who are already suffering from different illnesses. These businesses create “web shops” which they trade their privately produced medications which are indistinctly similar to the pharmaceutical medications prescribed and available in the market. Consumers who are unaware and have purchased these medications are thus believed to have purchased effective ones.